Renovations were last made to St. John’s Chapel at Newman University in 1994, and now — more than 20 years later — it is time for a revamp.
Located at the heart of Sacred Heart Hall, the chapel is home to daily Mass, confessions, services and other special events throughout the year. When Father John Fogliasso became the Newman University chaplain in 2014, it did not take long for him to see its state of disrepair.
Fogliasso said, “The pews cover just over half the chapel with chairs filling the rear portion, paint is chipping off of the wall, the carpet was riddled with stains, confessions were heard in a utility closet, stained-glass windows are bowing and the sanctuary is a large, empty area that appears dark and removed from the congregation.”
With the help of students, the sisters of the Adorers of the Blood of Christ, staff, faculty and administration, the issues such as the confessional and carpet have been taken care of. The rest of the renovations will occur during summer 2019.
The new remodeling plans include an updated paint scheme, adding new pews that extend to the back of the chapel, fixing the plaster and making the altar handicap accessible.
“The dark blue at the front of the chapel makes it difficult to light the sanctuary well enough,” Fogliasso said. “It draws the light away from the altar, so I think changing the color to something lighter will make the chapel a warmer and more inviting place.
“I’m most excited for the chapel to be restored and enhanced back to its former dignity and beauty,” he added. “The pictures of the chapel from the 1940s through the 1970s are incredible, so I’m very excited that the students will enjoy a space that is more worthy of the celebration of Mass.”
The Newman University Advancement Department is working with Randy Crook of Shelden Architecture to complete the chapel renovations. The design committee plans to continuously respect the history of St. John’s Chapel and the artifacts it holds, said Fogliasso.
“I’m very excited about the changes to come and I look forward to financially supporting the project myself,” Fogliasso said. “I ask and encourage anyone who has a special place in their heart for this project to please consider helping to fund the campaign.”
According to the blueprints and current bids, the cost of the entire project is estimated to be between $200,000 and $250,000. If you would like to donate, visit give.newmanu.edu or mail a check to the University Advancement Department, 3100 McCormick, Wichita, KS 67213.